Sunday, July 31, 2005

Memphis' "Say 'ello to my little friend"

Hustle & Flow lives up to the Sundance hype.

The film's to-come success will be due in great part to Terrence Dashon Howard's performance as pimp-turned-rapper, DJay. His imitation-worthy cadence is up there with Al Pacino's Tony Montana and Billy Bob Thorton's Karl Childers.

There's also a great scene where the track "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" comes together. Oddly enough, it's reminiscent of the similar scene of the "Someday I Will Treat You Good"** recording in the film, Laurel Canyon. In both movies, the actors laid down their own vocals.

**Give credit where credit's due, this is the original Sparklehorse version.

Damien Rice + 'f@cking high' = James Blunt

Let me explain the title. Non-blonde Linda Perry has a new label, Custard Records. Her first artist is Englishman James Blunt. If you are fan of Damien Rice (and you should be) and appreciate the rare, one-time use of fuck in a song then check out Blunt's "You're Beautiful." Here's the sans 'fucking high', added 'flying high' video.

Here's a story. It stars Linda Perry.

In the mid-90s, I lived in San Francisco. The top local bands of that time included Sister Double Happiness/Imperial Teen, East Bay's Green Day and the almost all-girl band, Stone Fox. Stone Fox's biggest fan and producer was former Non Blonde Linda Perry. The setting was the Paradise Lounge south of Market. It was 2am. Stone Fox was closing out the last set of the night. They called some friends to the stage. One was Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett. The other was Linda Perry. Together they lit up Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song." Hearing Perry belt out 'Aaaaaaaaaa a ... Aaaaaaaaaa a' that night made me a lifelong fan of whatever she does including writing and producing Pink, Christina Aguilera and (well ... maybe not) Kelly Osbourne.

Interesting fact: One of the last recordings 4 Non Blondes did was a cover of Zeppelin's "Misty Mountain Hop."

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Cocky or just plain crazy?

I'm sucker for a great R&B album.

I downloaded R. Kelly's new TP.3 Reloaded. The album is currently No. 3 on Billboard's Top 100 after spending the last two weeks at No. 1. The album is all SEX- but not the holding-hands-on-the-beach-making-missionary-style-love-once-a-month-to-your-faithful-wife-of-20 years sex.

It's a solid album and well worth a listen, though I've yet to warm up to the middle-of-the-CD, five-chapter, five-song operatta, "Trapped in the Closet." Here are some of the Reloaded titles, decide for yourself: "Hit It Til the Mornin'," "Sex Weed," and "Kickin' It With Your Girlfriend" (which is not about movie night with your main squeeze).

Here's the thing I can't figure out. This sexed-up songman is also currently on trial in his hometown of Chicago for "multiple counts of child pornography involving a tape that allegedly shows him having sexual relations with a teenage girl." He was charged in April 2002. I haven't seen the tape for obvious reasons, but thanks to Dave Chappelle's parody video, "Pee on You" (note who gets Director credit), I've got a good idea.

Look at the world's most powerful, and they're usually basted in confidence. Right now, Kelly's walking around like a turkey the day after Thanksgiving. Funny thing, turkey's big at Christmas too.

Here's a sample:

"Girls Go Crazy"

"In the Kitchen"

Friday, July 29, 2005

I'd recommend Doug Sahm

Content on ecommerce sites is usually bland ad copy. That's changing or at least it appears to be. Recommendations are becoming king in the CD online sales world. And, I like it. iTunes does this with brilliance.

Last week, thanks to lilihammer, I came across Music You Should Hear on Amazon.

Some of my favorite odd pairings: first the artist, then their must-hear album.
  • Solomon Burke: Christina Aguilera's "Stripped"
  • Backstreet Boy Nick Carter: The Dead's "Touch of Grey"
  • Ben Folds: Every pick from this happy bore is shockingly good
  • Engelbert Humperdinck: Two albums--one live, one greatest hits-- from the next-Dinck, Robbie Williams
I also give Elvis Costello credit for acknowledging an album from one of the all-time great lesser-knowns, Doug Sahm. In the '60s, Sahm's band The Sir Douglas Quintet was said to be a favorite of Bob Dylan's, a fact Sahm (rhymes with 'mom') never forgot to bring up during a show. It is also Sahm's voice you hear on the Uncle Tupelo cover of the Sahm-penned, "Give Back the Key to My Heart."

In November of '99, Sahm died of a heart attack in a New Mexico hotel during one of his regular pilgrimages to baseball's spring training. The message Sahm left on his answering machine before heading out on his trip closes the album Costello recommends. Listen at the end of "Texas Me," and you will hear it.

The rest of the MYSH picks are predictable, but worth a look. And don't get me wrong, Amazon won't replace Mojo as my must-have music source. I just like the trend.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

No. 8: Name that celebrity

Best week ever

This is Rick Rubin. The bad-ass of producers, the money-maker of music, the gentle giant of fans, the original mixologist of rap and punk.

Aside from the Man in Black himself, Rick Rubin was the person responsible for giving Johnny Cash the right, bright light at the end of Cash's career.

Next up for Rubin is Neil Diamond. And this time around, Rubin is following the same Cash formula: a stripped-down production with Diamond, his words, his voice, his guitar and little more. The album is due out in November.

Rubin has always been on the cusp of what's interesting in music. Here's a glimpse at his track record as a label owner, album producer or both.
  • Run-DMC, "Raising Hell" (1986)
  • Beastie Boys, "Licensed to Ill" (1987)
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers, "Blood Sugar Sex Magik" (1991)
  • The Jayhawks, "Hollywood Town Hall" (1992)
  • System of a Down, "System of a Down" (1998)
  • Johnny Cash, "American Recordings" (2002)
  • Rage Against the Machine, "Live at the Grand Olympic Auditorium" (2003)

  • -------

    Here's a story. It stars Rick Rubin.

    The year was 1992. I had just graduated from college, moved to L.A. and after many months, some interning, and plenty of shit-taking, I found myself in a good gig at a trendy glossy magazine. (An example of said shit-taking was the insistence from the editor and the publisher, a gay couple, for me to use only the pens they supplied. Nice enough, if only they weren't these 'beefcake' pens that when you turned them down to write, the ink ran out of the swimsuits.)

    I covered music and one of my early assignments was to interview this new band from Minneapolis, The Jayhawks. Interesting enough, though I'd never heard of them. But I was psyched about the interview because it was to take place at the label, Rick Rubin's American Recordings. Even then, I was a fan of Rubin.

    I got to the label in Burbank. There, while I was waiting, I saw Rick Rubin in his office, at his desk. The door was open and there was a clear window of wall that faced into the larger office. So, I watched. Watched him take calls. Watched him laugh. Watched him yell. Watched him pay cash for a delivered pizza.

    The publicist showed up and walked me downstairs to a '50s-style diner on the ground floor. Harmonizer Mark Olson greeted me. The two of us sat down in a booth. I was nervous, young and trying to ask intelligent questions. He was funny, easygoing, and set on giving interesting answers. It was the end of the day.

    By the close of the interview, the entire band had joined us in this now-crowded booth. Not only did this go down as my best interview experience, but that album, Hollywood Town Hall, still ranks in my all-time top 20.

    Skip ahead three days. Friday night in Hollywood. The Jean-Paul Gaultier fashion show at the Shrine. Walking the runaway were Rachel Welch, Billy Idol and a catwalks-worth of other celebs. But the 'boob shot heard 'round the world' that night went to Madonna. Not until I hit the office the next day did a learn that those were only rubber-versions of her chest.

    Later that night, still at the Shrine, I found myself standing next to a dancing Virginia Madsen, watching a live performance of "It's Raining Men" by the Weather Girls. (Odd fact I later learned: Letterman bandleader Paul Shaffer wrote that song--which opens a whole six-pack of other questions.)

    I didn't think life could get any better. Then, it did. As I was waiting at valet in a borrowed Dolce & Gabbana jacket and Gap jeans, I noticed Rick Rubin standing next to me. Most people around us were dressed in evening wear. Rubin was wearing a white t-shirt with holes, blue jeans and Converse shoes. He had just begun to grow his belly. With him was a woman whose style of dress would later inspire Pam Anderson's world.

    At exactly the same moment, our cars arrived. Mine was a Volkswagen Fox with a dent in the then-facing-us right fender. His was a white, stretch limo. I watched as they moved toward the vehicle, not moving at all toward mine. The limo door opened. Out extended a hand followed by two, gorgeous, parted female legs. That hand put a bottle of Jack Daniels into Rubin's. Those legs closed and made room for the other female. Then the four of them--legs, Rubin, pre-Pam and Jack--rode off.

    Wednesday, July 27, 2005

    Tales From a Great Indoorsman

    Here's the first in an ongoing series from prolific blog poster J.S. Bankston. I have respected his writing for years and I continue to be amazed and , at times, shocked by the goings-on in his world -- most of which take place within the four walls of his North Austin apartment and in the company of his beloved dog, Fred.


    Wherein I See The Apocalypse

    I dreamt about the end of the world the other night. The dream started in the daytime in a building where there were lots of young children, from pre-school ages up through the lower elementary grades. The floor was divided up into specific sections, each devoted to a certain game or craft activity.

    I thought at first I was in a school, but I later learned this was an activity center. The strange thing was this place was only open for thirty minutes a day after school. I asked some adults on hand what the point was in having a whole building that was only open for such a short time every day.

    Then a five-year-old begged one of the adults to take him to see Randy Newman in concert that night. I asked the adult, "What on earth is a five-year-old doing being a fan of Randy Newman?" (Understand, I was only thinking of Newman’s adult work, not all the songs for kid’s movies he’s done lately.)

    Then suddenly I found myself in the middle of nowhere, on the plains of South Texas, at a diner/beer joint late at night. All the kids from the activity center were there, along with a variety of other people, at least 200 in all. The building faced north, and was located on the south side of a deserted highway that ran east and west. I suspected I might be near my old childhood home of Katy, Texas, but this place was remote, and Katy is now a populous Houston bedroom community.

    We all were gliding easily between the indoors and outdoors, when we heard a series of tremendously loud noises, including the screeching whistle of a bomb being dropped. Far, far north, many states away, up on the horizon, a sharp, brilliant light appeared which quickly became a bright, narrow column of light shooting into the heavens. And from that point of origin there emanated semi-circular waves of light, each one larger than the last, each accompanied by terrible booms. It looked like a geometrically precise, symmetrical Aurora Borealis.

    Somehow we all immediately knew what this was. Terrorists had gotten ahold of powerful bombs that would destroy the world. At this point nothing could be done–the bombs had gone off and we couldn’t fight back. We were all going to die.

    I looked to my right and saw my mother from behind as she ran east down the road, looking for her husband. She didn’t even bother to say good-bye. (I guess you don’t have to be Freud to figure that one out.)
    Then I thought about someone whom I wished was there with me for the end of the world, someone who was far away, involved in other things, and who I knew would probably never even give a second’s thought about me at a time like that.

    Oddly enough, my beloved dog, Fred, was nowhere around in this dream, and I didn’t actually think of him either. That is most unusual.

    There was a degree of panic amongst the crowd, but at the same time some of us realized that there are worse places to be when the world ends than a bar.

    I milled among the people. It looked like the Randy Newman concert would be cancelled, I thought, when passing that five-year-old.

    At some point I found myself with my arm around the shoulder of Ezra Levin, who had hurt his leg or something and needed assistance walking. Ezra was one of my students when I worked as Librarian at a private school, and he was a fat, disrespectful, disruptive pain in the ass. When he wasn’t challenging my authority he was vandalizing my computer in the school library.

    And then when I’d call him down he had the gall to say, "Mr. Bankston, you’re singling me out because I’m a Jew. You’re anti-Semitic !" And I’d respond, "No," (taking great care not to add, "you little bastard,") "I’m not singling you out because you’re Jewish. I’m singling you out because you’re acting like a jerk." (The last I heard, Ezra had matured somewhat and was studying International Politics at Georgetown University and working as a Congressional Aide.)

    And yet, here I was, at the end of the world, helping this brat walk. He looked at me with a sneer and said, "So, Mr. Bankston, I guess this means you like me now?" And I, smiling through gritted teeth, said, "No, Ezra, it means I’m sad we’re not gonna live long enough for me to kick your fat ass through a hedge!"

    When the bomb failed to have immediate effect we all wondered what was going on. Maybe it would take a series of bombs to actually destroy the whole earth.

    There was a small TV in the bar, and I turned it on and we gathered around to watch the news. But the set only got three channels, and they were all showing late-night info-mercials, including the one with those freaky midget twin brothers who wear tiny black suits and claim that anyone who uses their patented techniques can become a millionaire from selling real estate.

    We were all disgusted by this point, and resigned to the idea we would all be dying in the next few hours. As it turned out, I had a little bedroom in the back part of this diner/bar building, and I headed back there to collect my thoughts. It was a small room, crammed with the most important of the "treasures" I have collected in this life.

    But when I opened the door, I found Troy Collier rummaging around. Troy was the First Chair cornet player in my high school band a quarter century ago, an arrogant rich kid who lived with his grandparents and juvenile delinquent brother. He also had a huge "Toucan Sam" nose about which he was very touchy, and a fondness for being fellated while driving his car up and down Interstate 45.

    Troy was thumbing through my library catalogue and sniggering at some of the titles. Enraged that he was violating my privacy, I leaped upon him, ripped the catalogue from his hands, throttled him, and pushed his face down into the pillows of a blue Edwardian armchair in an attempt to suffocate him, all the while screaming obscenities at him.

    The funny thing is that lately I’ve been having all these violent, rage-filled dreams, while in my waking life I’ve been calm and happy. And although I’ve not seen Troy Collier in decades, I never especially disliked him. And finally, I should mention that I woke before the next wave of bombing started, so I technically did not get to see how the world ended.

    Tuesday, July 26, 2005

    No. 7: Name that celebrity

    "What do I have to do to get Audioslave on WKSS?"

    Tom Morello woke up pissed today. Running on the front of the Los Angeles Times is this:

    Paying a Price
    Sony BMG reaches a $10-million settlement of allegations it bribed stations to get its songs on the air
    This is the problem with the current state of music. In the last decade, only one fine ($8,000) has been imposed in a payola case.
    Anyone seen the wonderful Rodney Bingenheimer documentary, The Mayor of Sunset? If you have, you'd know by Bingenheimer's current state of things that he never accepted payola for breaking such bands on the L.A. airwaves as Blondie, Dramarama, Ramones and No Doubt. Someone once called Rodney, "the best listener L.A. has ever known." Radio needs more listeners, and less money makers. I am keenly aware both types must exist, but right now the balance is knocking the Satisfied 75s off the see-saw.
    Go here for the complete story.

    Sunday, July 24, 2005

    Answer: 2.4 million in advertising and t-shirt sales

    Question: Money made by this site in the first half of 2005?

    • Stop horsing around or feeling hoarse? You pick. GO
    • And I (and a to-remain-unnamed Texas fisherman) thought Hal Fishman was the best. GO
    • How come baby Jessica got all the attention? GO

    What do Bob Dylan and Enya have in common?

    Online sales

    Small stakes will kill time

    I just came across this rock poster artist. His name is Jason Munn and his company is called Small Stakes, after the Spoon song. Not bad for $20.

    "The waste basket is a writer's best friend"

    The above is a quote from Polish writer Isaac Bashevis Singer. Willie Nelson doesn't do enough self-editing. That said, I'm warming up to yet another reggae pairing from the redheaded warbler.

    How do you think this song with Toots Hibbert ...
    "I'm a Worried Man"

    ... holds up to the original from Johnny and June Carter Cash?
    "I'm a Worried Man"

    "I Saw" No. 105 & 106

    Father and son Carl Reiner and Rob Reiner dining with spouses at L'Orangerie. Throughout the meal, Carl and Rob traded ideas and laughs, comfortable in their conversation, surrounded by a hushed environment of special occasion diners.

    Saturday, July 23, 2005

    I love (and) L.A.

    Ernest Hemingway said "The best writing is certainly when you are in love."

    Frank Black puts this thought to the test on his new country-tinged album, Honeycomb. Black recorded the album in Nashville with top players including guitarist Steve Cooper (Booker T. & the MGs/co-writer of Redding's "Sitting on the Dock of Bay") and keyboardist Spooner Oldham (Percy Sledge, Bob Dylan) ... and during the end of one relationship and the beginning of another. You be the judge about the 'love' claim:

    "Strange Goodbye": This tune was written about the recent demise of his marriage, and, oddly enough, features the ex-wife on vocals.

    "Violet": Frank Black is now in love again, and this gem was written for that new interest.


    On a related note, I've always thought Frank Black's "Los Angeles" was right up there with X's "Los Angeles" at capturing this city's energy. There's another City of Angels track that never got its due.

    Circa 1999, Duff McKagan (Guns N' Roses, Velvet Revolver) was set to release a solo album for Geffen, entitled Beautiful Disease. The album never made it to middle America's kids. Fortunately for a kid somewhere in England, it was released as an import.

    The album kicks off with the red herring title "Seattle Head" -- a song that deserves to be up there with the L.A.-inspired ones.

    I can't guarantee you'll be singing along to "Los Angeles, you're a fucking whore", but there is poetry found in the whole of the song's loose decadence.

    Here's two other reasons you should seek out this album if you ever gave a shit about G N' R.


    "Song for Beverly"

    So long as they're good

    The Paris Review was founded in 1953 by Harold L.Humes, Peter Matthiessen and George Plimpton. In the first issue, writer William Styron said this about what he hoped for the literary publication:

    "The Paris Review hopes to emphasize creative work—fiction and poetry—not to the exclusion of criticism, but with the aim in mind of merely removing criticism from the dominating place it holds in most literary magazines and putting it pretty much where it belongs, i.e., somewhere near the back of the book. I think The Paris Review should welcome these people into its pages: the good writers and good poets, the non-drumbeaters and non-axe-grinders. So long as they're good."

    So, a celebration of great writing, not a pissing contest to point out the bad. I've always liked this approach. And if William Styron could've predicted The Paris Review of today, he might've added the line: "A bookstore of sorts where the great writers of past and present meet, and where the online masses see, read and hear their every word."

    Thanks to tastho, I've been reading and listening to The Paris Review online. Literary-minded mags tend be illiterate when it comes to the Web. The New Yorker is a great example. Until recently, their site was a flat page that showed the cover and pointed you to subscribe. Even today, a basic search box does not exist on The New Yorker site.

    Here are some highlights of The Paris Review site:
    • Audio clips of great writers including many with Hunter S. Thompson. Listen to Gonzo's greatest on the topics of politics in the pages of Rolling Stone and the origin of Fear and Loathing.
    • For those coming to this blog and always being disappointed with the lack of Jack Kerouac, do a search for Lowell's now favorite son.

    I could go on and on, but then I'd be keeping you from great writing. I'll leave you with the words of Jack Kerouac as now found online.
    “I spent my entire youth writing slowly with revisions and endless rehashing, speculation and deleting and got so I was writing one sentence a day and the sentence had no FEELING. Goddamn it, FEELING is what I like in art, not CRAFTINESS and the hiding of feelings."

    No. 6: Name that celebrity

    Thursday, July 21, 2005

    No. 5: Name that celebrity

    Talk about going to the extreme

    Perry Farrell has formed a new band with Extreme's Nuno Bettencourt on guitar and No Doubt's Tony Kanal on bass. They are called Satellite Party.

    Out of respect for Farrell (and as difficult as it is), I am reserving judgement for now.

    Wednesday, July 20, 2005

    Some good ol' worthwhile visceral experiences

    Everyone has those bands they think were genius. The ones who packed the first small clubs they were allowed in. The ones who defined moments in their life.

    For me in Dallas, these were the bands and a few moments that did it:
    • Seeing Tripping Daisy on a New Year's Eve, being drunk and captivated by their light show that consisted of woman moving a clear bowl of multi-colored jello back and forth on an old-school overhead projector.

    • Standing at the bar at Club Clearview watching a gigolo-type in a western shirt with the sleeves cut-off, hit on seemingly disinterested younger woman. Then seeing that same guy introduced by Reverend Horton Heat as "Jimbo on upright bass." And for the next two hours, standing two feet from the stage, being blown away by this thing called pyschobilly. Waiting around after the show to see Jimbo walking out the backstage door, arm around that interested younger woman.

    • Close to midnight at Trees in Deep Ellum. Lights down. Smoke pushing out from the stage. The sound of two drum kits working in tandem. And, there in silhoutette, leaning on his cane, Course of Empire's vocalist Vaughn Stevenson channeling Goth "it" Peter Murphy. Large empty drums getting rolled out into the audience. And like kids in kindergarten, males and females pounding away with the band as one.

    But, at the top of this list would have to be the funk, rock of Billy Goat. Yes, they were known to rub the dance floor with vaseline. Yes, their concert t-shirts read, "Fuck More, Bitch Less." And yes, they had an attractive (once you got past the underarm hair) woman on stage who held up words (Chef Boy Ardee) from the songs and on good nights encouraged the audience, by removing her top, to join in on "Clothes Off." But, they were also much more.

    What I have learned since then is that I remain right. They were genius or at the very least, still worth a listen. I'm offering Billy Goat's major label release Bush Roaming Mammals as evidence. Here's a sample.

    "Dog's Heroin"


    "Trash Can Charlie"

    "Clothes Off"

    The Players:
    MIKE DILLON (percussion, vocals)
    Pre-Billy Goat: Ten Hands, Denton music scene
    Post-Billy Goat: Hairy Apes BMX, Les Claypool's Frog Brigade, Karl Denison's Tiny Universe


    EARL HARVIN (drums) **still among my favorite all-time drummers
    Pre-BG: Ten Hands, Denton music scene
    Post-BG: Earl Harvin Trio, Seal, The The, Air, Psychedelic Furs, Joe Henry, etc.


    KIM PRUITT (movement, house props, vocals)
    Pre-BG: Mike Dillon's girlfriend
    Post-BG: Mike Dillon's wife


    KENNY WITHROW (guitars)
    Pre-BG: (songwriter/guitarist) Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians. Also, an original Bohemian when they were locally popular, nationally unknown prior to Mrs. Simon adding her name.
    Post-BG: Recorded a New Bohemians album and still performs w/that band name always attached to the marquee, preceded by the words 'of the.'


    BRANDON SMITH (bass, vocals)
    Pre-BG: TBD
    Post-BG: Blowfish (featuring original Pantera frontman Terry Glaze and drummer Mike Malinin, who later joined the Goo Goo Dolls)


    PHIL MAJOR (guitars, vocals)
    Pre-BG: TBD
    Post-BG: TBD


    JERRY HARRISON (producer)
    Pre-BG: (musician) Modern Lovers, Talking Heads
    Post-BG: (producer) Live, Foo Fighters, No Doubt


    I leave you with Mike Dillon's thoughts on the band:

    "A lot of people thought we were just straight-up f*cking losers and that we were sexist because we got naked, but it wasn't like it is now with all those bands saying, 'Hey, bitches, get up on stage and show us your tits.' It was more like, 'Hey, guys, anyone want to pull their d*ck out with me and do some male bonding?'"

    Tuesday, July 19, 2005

    Sniffin' my undies

    Willie Nelson said around the time of Teatro that if he could, Emmylou Harris would sing harmony on every song he recorded. It's too bad someone didn't hold lovable Willie to this when Jessica Simpson and Kermit the Frog came a calling. I have the feeling that Gram Parsons felt the same after Grievous Angel as probably did Bob Dylan following the completion of Desire. As much as I love Harris' Lanois-produced Wrecking Ball and the Lanois protégé Malcolm Burns-produced Red Dirt Girl, my favorite Emmylou albums are the guest spot ones above. Which is saying a lot because those are also among my all-time favorite albums.

    In ode to chw and as a reaction to good feedback from Satisfied '75, here are top recordings that pair the two sexes.

    "Perfect Day" Evan Dando & Kirsty MacColl
    I am not a sap, but if I was, I'd quote the chorus penned by Lou Reed:
    It's such a perfect day/I'm glad I spent it with you

    Dando and MacColl both lead/led such full, yet tragic lives. Dando is a swirl of drugs, celeb-f*cking and unrealized songwriting potential. MacColl died at the height of her world music appeal in front of her two children because of the irresponsible actions of a wealthy Mexican businessman and his speedboat. This makes the idea of a perfect day is any day spent with you all the more powerful.


    "In Spite of Ourselves" John Prine & Iris DeMent
    This song was recently brought up at a wedding I attended. If you've lived in the South, you probably know a lovable couple like this.

    He ain't got laid in a month of Sundays/I caught him once and he was sniffin' my undies/He ain't too sharp but he gets things done/Drinks his beer like it's oxygen/He's my baby/And I'm his honey/Never gonna let him go


    "Four Leaf Clover" Old 97's Rhett Miller & Exene Cervenka
    This selection is as much about giving props to the vocal harmonizing of Cervenka and former husband John Doe as part of the band X, as it is recognizing this tune. Cervenka, like Harris, has become a voice so many younger bands would love to have on their albums. With this upbeat track, the Dallas band got so lucky.


    "Fairytale of New York" The Pogues' Shane MacGowan & Kirsty MacColl
    MacColl gets another nod for pairing with everyone's favorite slurrer on this classic holiday song set in a New York drunk tank.


    "A Campfire Song" 10,000 Maniacs' Natalie Merchant & Michael Stipe/"Your Ghost" Kristin Hersh & Michael Stipe
    If R.E.M. wasn't one of the biggest bands in the world, Stipe would be at the top of many's Most Underrated List -- right behind, I'm sure, Paul Westerberg. These two songs show the subtlety of his talents.

    Ten years back, I saw 10,000 Maniacs (free tickets) perform at Universal Amphitheatre. Midway through the Maniacs' set, Merchant began "A Campire Song." On the recording of this song, Stipe plays a small, almost hushed part. On that night and minutes into the song, Merchant motioned to someone in the audience. Seconds later, motioned again. Stipe got up from his general-admission seat and walked down the aisle without much notice from the crowd. He reached the edge of the stage and Merchant leaned down. She handed him a mic and on perfect cue, they traded verses. The crowd went crazy.

    I know this list leans heavy to alt country. And, I know it is far from complete. So with that, I turn it over to you.

    Friday, July 15, 2005

    UPDATE: Name that celebrity

    This was the view from the front ... later in the night.

    Now don't you think some of you were a little harsh on Pam.

    Thursday, July 14, 2005

    Godfather of punk mindf*cks the librarian of public radio

    Today on NPR's Fresh Air , engaging interviewer Terry Gross spoke to Stooges' front man Iggy Pop and it was brilliant.

    Iggy was promoting his new cd, A Million in Prizes: The Iggy Pop Anthology. Listening to Iggy being interviewed by the always-true-to-herself Gross was like listening to, or better yet wishing you were watching, a remake of Lennon and Ono co-hosting the The Mike Douglas Show. Iggy is the man who rolled in shattered glass to the delight of his audience and talked female fans into undressing on stage. And Gross, well the photo above speaks volumes.

    Some highlights
    • Gross commented on Iggy's body. Said his arms were pumped, but his chest was small. Iggy said that he doesn't pump and then attributed, in part, to the fact that he does "a lot of sex."

    • They talked about the album Raw Power. Iggy decided they should listen to the track "Gimme Danger." Gross asked why. Iggy said because it was the most musically complex. Then went on to talk about some high-brow ideals behind the song, but ended by saying, basically that it was about the fact that he goes for "bad chicks."

    • At one point, Iggy described drugs as the "enabler of deeper things." Said they blocked out all the negative thoughts like 'never going to finish' and 'not worth your time.' But then agreed that the drugs lose their positive purpose and become all negative. He then equated drugs to living in a neighborhood where everyone becomes popular and so condos start popping up everywhere. As Iggy said, "Drugs build condos [on your body] until you don't want to live there no more."

    • Iggy talked about his relationship with rock star f*cker/performer Nico and how she taught him to be sexual on stage by saying things to him like to grow his hair long and push it over his face because no one wanted to look at his face. And that he had to do more on stage because as she said, "They want to see poison on stage." Gross wondered if she was talking about drugs ... and Iggy said, "No, she meant chicks dig bad boys."

    There's more, so listen. I apologize in advance for any incorrect specifics, hold me only to the whole.

    "I Saw" No. 103 & No. 104

    A more pale-, more plump-, more haggard-than-expected Tony Shalhoub talking with a friend in front of the Larchmont newsstand.

    Also spotted on Larchmont, E!’s "The Soup" recapper Joel McHale putting a bag into the trunk of his new model, convertible Honda sports car.

    During the weekdays, Larchmont Blvd. is a guaranteed star sighting. Other recent spottings:
    • "Damn, I'd liked to be him"'s Olivier Martinez dining alone, being recognized and then being gracious on the patio of La Luna Ristorante.

    • Also at La Luna, but on different day and with friends, will-forever-be-known-for-ER’s Maury Tierney.

    • Probably headed to Albertsons, Everbody (But Me) Loves Raymond's Patricia Heaton rushing out of the parking garage in her black, Lexus coupe.

    • Making his then-first "I Saw" appearance, the true "ya know ... that guy", Joey Slotnik.

    Tuesday, July 12, 2005

    What's the frequency Satisfied '75?

    This is a well-deserved plug.

    Which Madonna will make more this year?

    Moneymaker Barry Diller said today, "Build the audience, and the money will come."

    In the July 11 New Yorker, it was reported that the Met recently paid between forty-five and fifty million dollars for the 11x8-inch "Madonna and Child" by Duccio di Buoninsegna.

    Curator Keith Christiansen claimed this would be the best picture ever recommended to the trustees since his arrival in 1977.

    In 1963, the "Mona Lisa" was brought to the Met for a month and more than one million visitors showed up to endure long lines. The eyes of the "Madonna" have yet to follow its viewers and, in turn, have not drawn lines of floral-printed wearing, money-spending gawkers. But, the Curator believes they will.

    With audience, comes money. Phish proved it. Pearl Jam proves it. Google proves it. Krispy Kreme proves it - or at least they did for a little while.

    This post is an ode to seldom_seen for forcing the thought after the art.

    No. 4: Name that celebrity (couple)

    Monday, July 11, 2005

    Phoning it in

    The following observations were made in a recent NY Times article.
    • The downloadable ringtones market is now more than 5 million globally. The U.S. share is $600 million and growing.
    • 1991, Nokia became the first company to market a ringtone with Francisco Tarrega's "Gran Vals" for classical guitar.
    • Zingy, a ringtone provider, has just released an album by producer Timbaland to be heard as your phone's ding-a-ling. Each song is 20 seconds.
    • There are now competitive ringtone DJ'ing contests.

    Today, I don't get listening to a phone ring for enjoyment. It's like eating your words when you're hungry. But, I am also smart enough not to write it off. In the same article, crunk king Lil Jon said this when asked why he got involved in ringtones: "They cut the check ... It's another way of reaching an audience ... Like I was already thinking, what if I produce a song for a cellphone that ends up getting on music charts? The technology is so crazy, that could one day happen."

    I've never had a problem with great music being used to sell products, as Lil John says, "it's another way of reaching an audience." I still believe VW commericials are responsible for growing the fan base of Richard Buckner and Nick Drake. There was no mainstream film soundtrack or Behind the Music episode stepping up to do so.

    Jingles to push products aren't going away. Why not make it good music and give money to the people who made the good music, so that can make more good music. Crappy artists never seem to have a problem 'selling out.' Too bad, good ones do.

    Sunday, July 10, 2005

    Miss Hilton gets a mouthful

    Backstage at Live8 Ricky Gervais (of the British TV series "The Office") was at the side of the stage. Paris Hilton walked up to him and said how much she liked his stuff.

    Ricky: "Have we met before?"

    Paris: "Yes. I'm Paris Hilton."

    Ricky: "Oh, sorry Paris, I didn't recognize you without a cock in your mouth."

    Exit Paris in a huff.

    --This a guest post from Bankston. True account found online. Published unedited including the headline. Used without his permission.

    If you haven't check out the original, British version of 'The Office', you should.

    Thursday, July 07, 2005

    No. 3: Name that celebrity

    Last week, someone got the answer at 'hello.' Let's hope this one isn't so easy.

    And yes, I do promise less males and more ass in the coming picks.

    It's a bird ... It's a plane ...

    No, it's banner art. I want to thank the mysterious simpleton for the graphic above. Thank you sir.

    By the way, the 'Life Gets Shorter' artist's name is Vladmir Bourrec.

    Saturday, July 02, 2005

    "George, this was funny until you started talking like a duck."

    Drawing by Danny Shanahan Posted by Picasa

    Tina Brown does lingerie spread in Maxim
    Well, it's not that bad. It appears the The New Yorker is taking a page straight out of Maxim. The everyone-claims-to-read magazine is now devoting its back page to a cartoon caption contest a la the no-one-claims-to-read magazine's photo caption contest.

    Above is this week's yet-to-be-captioned cartoon. Got a line that would look good under this 'toon? Email it to this address.

    You have to appreciate this previous winner from Robert Caffrelli.

    "It's me, '9,' from yoga class."

    Drawing by Edward Koren Posted by Picasa

    Friday, July 01, 2005

    Something to keep in mind ...

    "We cannot tear out a single page of our life, but we can throw the whole book in the fire."
    Writer George Sand a la A Love Song For Bobby Long

    You can't write this stuff ...

    ... but someone else can. People submitted these user reviews for locations. They never got published. You'll see why.

    My dog crapped in my car and they got all the poop out of the seats it smells fine now thank god for these guys.
    The tall bartender is great in bed, but won't call you the next day. worth it anyway.
    Chesty LaRue says hi.
    My wife actually likes the food. So I get to go occasionally. With my wife. That's like going to a chocolate factory if you're diabetic. Man, you might think it's tacky, crude and represents everything abhorrent about the male species, you'd be right...but me likey the ladies.
    PROS: McBoobers
    CONS: They'll never date u.
    I love it
    I was getting a dance from a hot man in there. He was so gorgeous. He was shaking his ass in my face, I wanted to stick my finger in there.
    And now, my favorite:

    They dunked my head in scalding beef juice. Need I say more?

    They dunked my head into scalding juice, after I asked for my sandwich to be 'extra juicy.' My skin has yet to recover from the burns. Now, every time I'm there, the cooks call me 'juice face.' But the worst part of the place is the ridiculous wait. I even remember saying, "This wait is ridiculous." One of the cooks retorted "What wait?" I laughed thinking he was joking, but then he said again, "Sir, what wait?" I said, the wait I'm standing in. He was like, "Sir there is no fact, there is never a wait here." So I was like "then what do you call this unique formation of stagnant people in front of me that don't have food?"....."Sir there is no wait." Trust me though, there was a wait. Had to be about four hours when it was all said and done.

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